What factors affect Social Media in 2020?

Introduction to Social Media and the issue at hand

Social Media, its factors and its importance in today’s age

Since the start of the new millennium, a new component has threatened to change the IMC model that had earlier been present for more than a decade. Social Media started with a few blogs, a site to share and watch videos, a place to connect with old friends, and is now at the forefront of many marketing campaigns that are designed across the world. The people that are not present on Social Media platforms are trying to get on them and the companies that haven’t started using them are now trying to frantically find people that may help them start their campaigns on the ever increasing Social Media platforms. Let us look at the various factors that help in the surging popularity of these platforms.

  • Social Media helps you reach a wide audience

As mentioned, Social media platforms are wide and varied in their usages and applications and hence are extremely important in connecting to a wide and varied population across the globe that wants to utilise every component of these platforms for a certain purpose. Just Facebook alone, even though it is banned in China has a host of more than a billion users, a number which is increasing with every day. Hence, they help in reaching a far-out audience in one go.

  • Billions of people are connected through Social Media worldwide in one form or another

The various types of platforms provide multi-tasking abilities to the users. While Facebook allows social news sharing, LinkedIn is used for professional career enhancement, YouTube is for video streaming and sharing and Instagram is for picture lovers who want to add various shades to their captured images. Thus, in this way, the various companies through various modes can easily reach out the communities that they were earlier able to identify but not capture.

  • Social Media provides an all-round automatic feedback and review

Since Social media platforms are a 2-way conversation and not a one-way monologue, the companies are able to receive an instantaneous feedback of their posts and the appropriateness of the content. Thus, they act as a gauge of public sentiments on the basis of which, their campaigns can be designed.

  • Social Media provides better connectivity to the users

Since, the users are connected in one way or the other, either through the personal computers, laptops, smart phones or tablets, the companies are allowed a guarantee of the audience being captured at a single time and hence better connectivity with them. This allows constant updates and posts from the companies.

  • Minimal investment in marketing is required

The campaigns designed on Social Medias require less cost than the ones designed on traditional marketing counterparts. Even though the paid components models exist, but still the companies have the option of growing organically through the means of creating viral content and something that can be shared all the time, which the users or followers can enjoy. Hence the amount that is theoretically required for sharing purpose is extremely minimal as compared to the other components of IMC.

  • People get connected at an incredibly early age, so it is easier to attract them through offers and entertainment

One of the key and large demographic of Social Media users are the teenagers and early and mid-twenties groups. Since many of the platforms are designed to serve their needs of connectivity and usage, these groups start connecting to these platforms at an incredibly young age. Hence the opportunity arises to attract them through various means is higher than the opportunity to attract an older customer through various other means of the IMC model.

  • Smartphones provide round the clock connectivity and applications

One of the major propellants of Social Media usage is the emergence of the smart phone market in the mid-2000s. Earlier, the Nokia phones and their Symbian Operating Systems were the clear winners of the mobile phone industry. However, that all changed with the introduction of iPhones by Apple, and sooner many companies like Samsung and HTC followed suit which has led to a plethora of options to choose from for the users. So much so, that it is the highest selling genre in the entire mobile phone industry.

  • The applications can be configured to the needs of the consumers

Another specific component for the success of the smart phones is the usability of the various applications that can be installed and configured to our needs. This allows the users to mix work and play at the same time with the help of their smart phones, thus increasing the usage time of the smart phones and subsequently the Social Media applications.

  • Product placement through Social Media is easy

With the key demographics now clearly defined with the help of the various platforms, the product is now easily placed on whichever platform the company desires and hence makes it easier to market for them.

  • Relevance of social media – you become what you share

The adage of “You reap what you sow” is extremely relevant in the case of Social Media due to the primary feature of instant feedback and viral nature of the messages being sent. Any message from the brand, if it is good or bad, can now be shared with the help of various platforms, with the algorithms and sharing methodologies allowing the “trending” feature for a certain feature. Thus, every company must tread carefully before sharing anything.

  • Users desire to be part of community and move beyond isolation

With the increasing global life and the increasing workload and competition, the individuals are now trying to find methods of coping with the isolation that they face. Social Media platforms provide the feature of connecting to the crowds at a mass level and hence allow the user to move beyond isolation.

Rationale and Objective for this research

This research aims at highlighting the dominance of social media on the current market dynamics and how the marketing campaigns are now more customised as per the target audience. They can be classified on the basis of needs of the consumer, demographics, the social networking platforms they use and the amount of time they spend. It also underlines the challenges when designing the Social Media campaigns by way of a survey and subsequent data analysis. To capture a broader perspective, both the consumer and the corporate houses have been analysed for their preferences, strategies and usability of the various platforms.

Therefore, from the research that has been performed, it will focus on two major issues and try and answer them through the analysis:

  1. What are the various ways in which corporate houses use Social Media and what are the probable future media platforms, trends and uses?
  2. What are the various factors that lead to users/viewers being satisfied from a webpage? Also, across the various categories defined on the basis of Gender, Social Media usage and Smart Phone Usage, which of these factors contribute the most to the satisfaction of these users?

Literature Review

History and Evolution of Social Media

According to Tamar Weinberg, for Global Advising Director of Social Media news website, Mashable.com, “Social media is, quite simply, the collaborative tools used for communication. It relates to the media—that is, those storage/transmission tools that relay data—but refers to that which allows users/members to be social and interact with one another. That said, social media in the online world relates to any online application that empowers two or more people together.”

Social Media, as a new way of communication, and as a phenomenon, started with the launch of the website Six Degrees in 1997. This was the first website that allowed its users to create a profile for themselves and also befriend users, something that acted as a stepping stone for the other social networks to follow. However, Social Media started becoming popular with the advent of blogging websites in the year 1999. The true Social Media network started with MySpace, and a professional touch was added with LinkedIn in the early 2000s. After that, it was the online media sharing websites like Photobucket and Flickr. In the middle of the decade, YouTube became available to the users across the world, and a year later, Facebook and Twitter, the most popular avenues in the stream of Social Media were opened to the general public. [2] The eight most popular forms of Social Media thus are: Social Networking sites, Blogs, Microblogs, Media-Sharing Sites, Social Bookmarking and Selection sites, Analysis Sites, Forums and Effective Worlds. [3]

The major changes in the Social Media started with “Massively multiplayer online role-playing games” (MMORPGS) like World of Warcraft. These games became a social media network in their own right, with people setting up teams specifically for tactical reasons within the game to friendships to romances. Two of the other major Social Networks that were popular during that phase were Friendster and Hi5, and both still have over 60 million registered users and multimillion unique users every month. Another one, that became popular, especially in India, is Orkut, Google’s social network. At its peak, it enjoyed close to 65 million users, but it lost its vogue after the advent of Facebook and was killed in 2014. However, there were a few social networking platforms that were created for niche, specific interest groups. The most popular amongst those is Ning where the users can create their own social network and can even pay to have their own branding instead of the Ning brand. All these have led to this boom period for Social Media which has captured the major share of people using Internet in this day and age. [88]

Current State of Social Media

As of 2020, the Social Media is at the peak in terms of overall reach and the impact that it can create in the grand scheme of things. There have been many historic movements that have happened because of the penetration of it. Few of the most prominent movements are The Arab Spring, Vigilante Hackers, London Riots, San Francisco BART riots, Occupy Wall Street and Nirbhaya Case. [4] This has been possible due to the numbers that Social Media brings. In the first quarter of 2020, Facebook had 2.6 active billion users, even after considering the fact that it is banned in many countries like Iraq, Syria and Iran, also including the highly populous China. [5]

Apart from Facebook, Twitter has 330 million active monthly users, with 500 million tweets being sent every day across the planet. Instagram has taken over as the biggest photo sharing portal with 1.1 billion active users and 100+ million photos being posted every day. YouTube accounts for over 1.9 billion users with 5 billion hours of video watching every month. And on the professional front, LinkedIn connects over 575+ million professionals across the planet. [6][7][8]

Role of Social Media Marketing with the rising number of users

With the number of Social Media users rising, the companies can now no more look at simply creating a Social presence in the digital space. The companies need to get their social promotions right as it can be a double-edged sword. The right concept can make for an intriguing campaign that can potentially even rejuvenate a brand, like Old Spice’s “Smell like a man, man” featuring Isaiah Mustafa [9]. However, the ones which are not carefully thought out will lead to a potential brand disaster, like JP Morgan’s “Snarkpocalypse” [10].

Keeping this in mind, 3 German scholars, Schulze, Scholer and Skiera did a research in 2014 at MIT Sloan Institute [11], on 751 Facebook marketing campaigns, especially involving Facebook, to decipher what prompts a consumer of the brand to share certain information about their campaign with their friends. The results revealed that there is no generally accepted formula that a marketer can follow to make a campaign successful. However certain broad parameters were defined that acknowledged what should be the potential questions that the marketing managers must answer. Few of them were to decide upon

  • Whether they need to rely either on Reach or on Relevance
  • Whether they want to target the first-degree friend list, or the second-degree contacts of the consumers
  • Employing either a Push, or a Pull strategy
  • Whether an incentive to use the product is involved or not

These 751 campaigns were in 22 product categories including games, entertainment, money and business. The overall results allowed the researchers to rule out the drivers of the campaign success. [11]

Apart from these 3, American researcher Sean Gelles also provided KPIs for Social Media marketing which to an extent corroborate the research work done by the Germans [12]. His 3 KPIs for the Brand Marketing done on the social platform are:

  • Noticeability: This was noticed with the research done in the field of neuroscience, advertising and psychology, and suggests that the more consumers like an ad, the longer they tend to remember about the brand.
  • Listening: Which is stated to be the key in understanding the demands of the potential customers and what types of visual and verbal content might capture their attention?
  • Reach: This is the last KPI as it helps the marketers in determining on which platform(s) the campaign is best suited to run.

Also according to a recent study, the consumers, especially the millennial generation (those who are born between 1985 and 2005) and women, are much more willing to go for a brand which is into Cause Marketing also known as Cause-Related Marketing. [13] The partnership itself can be of 3 types: Transaction based promotions, Joint Promotions and Licensing. [14] The partnership between a non-profit organization and a (for-profit) corporation has been able to deliver few of the biggest social media marketing campaigns. While American Express is the company which is held responsible for the first of its kind promotion when they trademarked the term in 1983, the recent examples of “Dawn saves wildlife” by Proctor and Gamble, “Super Love Sender” by Target, “lend a Paw” by Walmart, “Shiksha” by Proctor & Gamble (in India) and “Desh ko Arpan” by Tata Salt are few of the biggest examples of Cause Marketing where the customers flocked towards a brand which provided them a reason to care for the said brand. [14] [15] This was corroborated by a quantitative study conducted by Corbishley and Mason (2011), where structured questionnaire and interviews were used over a sample crowd of 400 customers visiting shopping malls in order to establish the fact that there is a relationship between the offer which a company is promoting and the socio-demographic audience. In the study, 94% respondents agreed that it is important for businesses to spend money on charities, and 69% of them recalled purchasing a brand which had Cause Related marketing attached to it. [13][15]

Important Factors in the Delivery of Social Media Message

The importance of Social Media being highlighted, it is also important to know the components of the messages that would be sent out to the public as a part of the corporate communication. In a study done by Czech researchers, they prepared a developmental graph that outlines these components. The 3 components are “Communication Tools”, “Content Creation” and “Information quality”. While Communication Tools and Content Creation meant that the company needs to decide on which platforms on it wishes to disseminate the information and how much information needs to be sent out, the most important of these 3 is Information Quality. It incorporates factors like regular updating, truthfulness of information, and clarity of information, sending of requested information and sending complete information. The campaigns which were able to follow all these factors were the most successful ones amongst all the researched campaigns. [16]

Another important factor that needs to be considered here is even the world is becoming increasingly globalized and is constantly changing in the belief structure, religion still plays an especially important and key role in defining and sculpting the consumer behaviour. Majority of the population of the major countries, including India, America, England, China and Australia indicated they have a religious affiliation. And this factor can change their lifestyle, their choice, their eating and drinking habits and their associations. [17] Therefore the marketers need to be careful in designing the campaigns in such a way that they do not hurt any of the religious sentiments. Few of the recent examples are of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni being called out because of posing as Lord Vishnu in an edition of Business Today [18] and the negative publicity of Aamir Khan’s movie “PK” [19]. Hence it has become more important today that the brands realize the importance of not only the fact that they need to market and promote their brands on social media, but also how to promote their brands on social media[20][21].

The Changing Nature of Social Media Marketing and its effect on conventional marketing

The conventional marketing tools have been in existence for over many years, and IMC as a strategic model itself has been there for a few decades as well. However, it also needs to be realized that it is not one-dimensional anymore. The consumer wants their opinion being heard on the brands in terms of the both the product as well as the promotion. [22] Moreover, with more than 1/6th of the world’s population already present on at least one of the social media platforms, and with the internet penetration increasing in the developed countries, the number will increase rapidly, it is imperative that the companies realize how consumers can cause a change in the views of a consumer who is in a different country than the one he is in, something which wasn’t much of an issue earlier. Hence, no market can be treated as an isolated market anymore. This particular aspect changes the “Place” aspect from the 4 P’s of marketing [23].It also has a different dimension to it, where the customer may consider as a particular campaign as invasion of privacy, or become averse towards the brand because of the campaign [24]. Therefore, the companies need to be highly conscious with their usage of social media, as not having a social presence may be sometimes becomes less catastrophic than having a negative one. Also, the companies must be able to determine what has been the impact of social media on the business, and to what extent, which would become a parameter of measuring the ROI of the campaigns.

From the consumers’ perspective, Social Media is changing the way they can connect with their contacts and is especially morphing the world of marketing. The consumer is now even more surrounded by marketing campaigns since they are involved with a social media platform through their smart phones and tablets, which are filled with brand ads. In that clutter of various companies, what necessary qualities must a campaign or a brand possesses in order to stand out and attract the attention of the customer. Deciphering that has become a big branding exercise and how the companies’ design their new campaigns or try and engage the customer base, is what will be realized here.

Future of Social Media

The marketing of products is currently stated to be in its third era i.e. Values Driven Era, the first two being Product-Centric Marketing Era and Customer-Oriented Marketing Era. In this era, the campaigns that were successful in the previous two will not be as successful and appropriate due to the inherent assumptions and changing expectations of the customers. Hence the companies would need participation and collaborative marketing, for which Social Media marketing is of prime essence. [25]

Theoretical Model for the paper

*SNS- Social Networking Sites
Figure 1

In this section, we will develop a theoretical framework which will be used for the base of the study. This will be employed as the basis for the development of the research work and the analysis of the survey. The components of the model are shown in the figure 1 and their basis and relationship with one another will be detailed in the next few pages.

Information Quality

Information quality is of one the foremost things that any consumer looks for when they decide to visit the profile or page of any website. That being said, deciding what information should be posted on the Social Media becomes an issue, as the same information can backfire if the consumers deem it as negative or controversial, and hence through the various social mediums, it can be spread around at a very fast rate.

However, information quality can have various dimensions as well, which are not just limited to mere consumers. The companies have started using these platforms as a way to measure the performance as well as the productivity of the employees in the firm [26]. The companies so far have been trying to understand the type of networking the employees get involved into. However establishing a causal network linkage is something the companies have not been able to achieve so far, but has been tried as of recent studies by Lynn Wu [27]. Also, inside the companies, the networks have been prompted as of the effective ways of knowledge transfer and productivity, which is something the companies would be looking to promote as social media increases its reach. [28]

Apart from what is inside the firm, the companies are also looking to put in content that would be increasing the participation of the virtual community that exists over the internet [29]. Two of the primary examples of this are the Amul India brand page on Facebook, and the web page for sharing jokes and memes on Facebook, 9gag. While Amul has been lauded with creativity for their cartoons depicting the Amul Girl somehow being involved in a major recent issue, the website 9gag is extremely popular for the humorous take on various issues in the form of either pictures or videos. The end result is the same on both however, as they are able to generate high volume of interaction with their target demographics and are able to get more people to join their page/profile due to the richness of content.

Also, another attribute that has been linked with the information that is being posted on the website is how much positively it affects the satisfaction of the members that are associated with that web page or profile [30]. The better the content that a user finds on the webpage or profile, the happier or satisfied he is with that brand. This in turn leads to loyalty for that brand, which the company can bank upon while launching a new campaign, as they are sure that they would have the backing of the loyal consumer base. A related attribute with the loyalty is that of the self-esteem of the consumer [31], wherein the consumer vicariously related itself with the brand page. Any content that is deemed as inappropriate being posted by the website, it is taken as a hit on the pride by the consumer. A recent example of that would be the Lenskart mishap on the Nepal earthquake, where the company posted an inappropriate message on which they were called out by the consumer base.

Apart from these, the companies are always trying to update their social presence in order to make the information as useful for the consumer base as possible [32]. The information has to be made both presentable as well as useful in order for the consumer to truly appreciate it. Even the social networks have started working on that front. The biggest example is the change in timeline of Facebook wall [33]. At one point of time, it was merely updates of friends in the chronological order of their posts. Now, it encompasses everything, from brand pages to the advertisements based on the browser and other brand page visit history that is included, along with the frequency of those advertisements.

Lastly, it is imperative to think that information on Social Media has the power to change perspectives as well as moderate the opinions of the people that are associated with it [34]. Hence it is extremely important from the company’s perspective to utilize the web space with both extreme caution as well as an opportunity to spread the right content.

Hypothesis 1: Information Quality positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

Product Related Learning

The other component of Social presence for the companies is how much product related information can they dispatch over the various mediums and in return how much the consumers respond to it. This can happen only when the company is able to build trust with their consumer base and then influence the users into knowing the company is not going to provide them with sub-standard service [35]. A perfect example of this is the wrestling conglomerate, World Wrestling Entertainment from WWE, who are actively present on many Social Media platforms and actively promote their product, and the associated merchandise that go along with it.

However, the product related influence is not an easy thing to spread. Therefore, since the 1990s there have been 2 new methods that have come into foray for the trying to use the available web resources, primarily for the developments of new products and their marketing on the digital space. For this purpose, there are 2 types of methods that have been developed i.e. Closed Innovation System and Virtual User Integration [36].

The phrase Closed Innovation implies that any firm should hold the Intellectual Property Rights to a particular innovation should be able to make profit from that innovation, and more importantly, the competition should not be able to make profit out of it. The phrase Virtual User Integration however is almost completely opposite of that in essence that the company allows the virtual users to describe the process and help make the product better, the primary example for which would be the Open Source coded products.

A field which has seen numerous examples in this profession is the field of medicines, which the doctors as well as medicine world have been increased in their effectiveness by new user intervention by the medium of designed applications and new product system, the most recent example of which is Theranos by Elizabeth Holmes [37].

Also, introducing Social Media in the political and social networks have greatly helped the few nations in which these practices were adopted as the focal point of campaign by their respective political leaders [38][39]. The biggest examples of these may be historical wins by Barack Obama while running for President for his second term, and in India by Narendra Modi to earn the most powerful mandate in over 3 decades. In both of these campaigns, digital media, along with the technological aides help their respective candidature as they were able to analyse and predict what every region of their respectively huge countries wanted to hear, by taking a look at their respective voices over all the Social media channels.

Also, while the group discussions and interviews for determining a new product have not gone out of the picture, companies these days are also relying on the method of online surveys in order to get the job done in terms of collecting data and later on analysing the collected data by using various scales, one of the primary one being the Likert Scale [40].

By using these multiple online available tools, and also with the help of analytics experts, the companies have been trying to figure out patterns, trends and thus the habits, likes and dislikes of the various audience demographics that they are likely to encounter, especially at the Social Media level [41]. Since the news is likely to spread faster through these means, having making a mistake can backfire extremely quickly for the companies, because of which they are likely to spend a huge amount of time in figuring out what is to be written or posted, before the content goes online related to the new product.

This practice however, can lead to huge dividends for the company later on, with the building of a brand community that helps in not only creating the electronic word of mouth but also, increasing the promotional number at an exponential rate, as every person who spreads the news is likely to create a ripple effect much larger on the online world, rather than the physical world [42]. These practices therefore have led to the companies spending a lot of time, money and resources in creating a team that specifically looks after their online content sharing and the subsequent responses.

Hypothesis 2: Product Related Learning positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

Economic Benefit

The consumer, apart from trying to learn about the product, is also trying to get some benefits, which are not always monetary, but something tangible. For example, if we take the category of grocery, especially fruits and vegetable shopping in India, websites like Greencart, Frrutto and Bigbasket come into the mind. These websites not only provide the option of Social Sharing, but also increase the social shopping intention of the user by providing a tangible option that the user won’t be able to get in physical shopping [43]. Another prime example of such shopping would be the major e-commerce stores like Flipkart, Amazon and Myntra, which have increase not only their dedication towards the webpages, but also in trying to figure out various deals that they can provide to the consumers. Flipkart’s 1 Billion Day, and the subsequent sales promotions have proved that the e-commerce is the biggest head turner in the field of Social Media.

The biggest gain however, from running all these promotional activities however, is not any monetary gain, but the Online gained Users [44]. The users are brought in with the help of the various promotional campaigns that are not only eye-catching but also helping them saves a lot of money or providing them with comfort. The recent example of this is the Big Bazaar sale, in which sale happens on the items on which the consumer demands reduction. Thus in this unique way, rather than lowering the prices of the items which a company wants to, in order to boost the sales on a short term basis, the user gets to choose the product of his own liking, at a reasonable rate as well. This gets the user to become a brand loyalist and share his opinion for the brand, which in turn acts as a promotion in itself.

One of the other way in which the benefit is to be seen is for the people with disabilities [45]. As discussed in their paper by Obst and Stafurik, on the Social Media platforms, or through the purchase of a product on the internet, the people with physical disabilities are equal to the people who do not share their conditions. This in turn provides a sense of power to these users, where they would be unable to make the purchase otherwise in the physical world. However, with that issue out of the question, that is one more demographic in which the online retail can generate more traffic than the normal companies.   

However, as much as there seem to be benefits of this approach, most of the companies do not have a very systematic bent towards how to create their online retail business [46]. It is usually an imitation game, where if one of the leading companies got for a particular promotional campaign, then the other try to out-do them. The biggest examples are last year’s campaigns by Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, which turned into a red-faced incident for the companies as well. Therefore proper planning needs to be made by these companies if they wish to secure this space in the future.

One of the ways in which the companies can do that is through the Theory of Planned Behaviour through the inclusion of perceived value [47]. Through this theory, the companies try to disseminate the knowledge and perceived value of their products and also try and acquire how the customers are viewing their products, and how much valuable are the products to them [48]. Thus by employing this method, the companies would be able to determine which particular product line of theirs, should go for which type of promotional campaigns, and whether or not, such splurging is necessary for beating the competition. If not, what should be the viable model for these products?

Another thing that the companies should process is the behavioural control aspect of the consumers [49]. The consumers at any given point of time would want the best possible product at the least possible price. Therefore how do the companies portray and promote their products so that they are ready to purchase the products at the cost the companies want them to purchase the products at is another thing that they need to realize.

Hypothesis 3: The Economic Benefits provided positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

Interactivity

The major factor that works in the favour of Social Media is the 2-way interactivity that it provides. This 2 way interactivity allows the company personnel to be hands-on in their approach towards the product and the promotional campaign. It can go as far as changing the strategy of the company as well, as evident from the Flipkart issue, where the company was on board with the Airtel Zero plan. However, the general public made a huge outcry, stemming from the emotions of Net Neutrality issue and company stock fell. Hence, the owners had to quickly issue a public letter stating that they won’t be a part of the Airtel Zero plan and would support Net Neutrality in the country.   

The fact that interactivity is going to be the most important asset to the company, allows them to gain upon the trust of the general masses that are associated with their product as well [50]. This comes into the picture as an extremely important point, as the companies that are able to build upon the trust of the users, are able to carry over that support into all of the new ventures. One of the biggest examples is Tesla, and their owner Eon Musk. He has been branching out into various energy saving product into many diversified fields, and a simple tweet last month about introducing a new product which is not a car, was able to generate millions of dollars in a single day as the share price of the company rose. Such is the amount of trust, both Tesla as well as Elon Musk command from the market.

Also, apart from the trust factor, the users also build a relationship with the websites of these companies, and when they are tinkered with, they do send a negative reaction to the company owners [51]. The primary example of this would be the online interaction forum Digg. In this case, the users were so accustomed to the features of the website, that when the company owners decided to launch the new version of the website with new features, and removing a few old ones, the users completely revolted and the site traffic started dropping and the request to bring back the old features kept on increasing. This prompted the return of the demanded feature for the said users, thus proving that in certain instances that users become so accustomed to a certain look and feature, that changing it is not what is best for business.

Another factor that starts brewing when we talk about the interaction between the company owners and the users is the intimacy factor that is brought in between the two sets [52]. If at any given point of time, the query of a consumer is being resolved by the company personnel, at an odd hour, or in time of urgent need or requirement, then it creates a sense of intimacy for the user towards the company. One of the examples that became popular last year, was that of a Standard XII student from Mumbai, who had ordered a book for his IIT exam preparations for the subject of Mathematics. However, he received a wrong order, and when he decide to hold a conversation with the Amazon Services, not only did they cancel the order at the very moment, but dispatched the new order and issued the remainder amount as refund, which is not a general practice, seeing as the student had his exam the very next week. Hence, these are the sort of actions that build a sense of bonding between the consumer and a company.

Also, with continuous interaction comes the case of continuous usage interaction as well [53]. Companies which are in the field of sports entertainment like WWE, TNA, Lucha Underground and ROH, constantly keep on providing polls and contest for their respective user bases so that the people associated with them remain in touch with what the companies are doing, as well as have the feeling of interaction being maintained without any breakage.

Continuing in the same vein, we also have the characteristics of content and interaction duration [54]. Any company can lose out its customer base, due to the fact that their customer base provides extremely poor service to the consumer base, and also that they appear to be in a hurry to end the conversation with the user. These along with coupling of the fact that rarity of give and take among multiple users being a case provides the companies with blind spots that are to be addressed in this crucial factor [55].

Collaboration

The collaboration between the user and the company is of utmost careful things to understand. The companies need to realize that the virtual world environmental stimuli influence users’ organismic experiences (i.e., perceived interactivity, telepresence, and social presence), and subsequently affect response (participation in micro-blogging) [56]. These are some of the parts that the consumers would be looking for the companies to address. Therefore the following areas need to be addressed in this case:

  1. Planned behaviour of the companies interacting with the user base, who try and interact at any given point of time [57].
  2. Collaborating with the consumer base who have stopped using the websites as of late and trying to make them come back to the site [58].
  3. Realizing the fact that these profiles and pages serve as a need to the consumer, and if there is any way in which that particular need, or any special one can be met out, then it should be completed [59].
  4. The companies should also realize that the users sometimes try and use the knowledge for the purpose of contribution by stating the facts out in the public. Hence whatever content is being posted by the companies, should be proof-read, as the users may treat them as a fact, and may also use them in certain experimental or presentation measures as well [60].

Hypothesis 4: Collaboration and Interaction by the company representative positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

Social Presence

The biggest purpose that social media serves provides is that of providing a Social Presence to the user. With that scenario in mind, the consumer looks to fulfil three of his personal gratifications by the help of the company [61]

  1. Utilitarian or functional gratification
  2. Social gratification
  3. Hedonic or knowledge gratification

It is only when these needs are fulfilled then the consumer decides to look at the other elements, then only is the company able to hold the consumer for a considerable duration of time, or rather as someone who frequently visits there Social Media profile or page [62][63].

The biggest purpose thus of these websites is to represent the characteristics of face to face communication, and sometimes also serving as Status Symbol for the users of the Social Media [64][65].

However, if we consider the fact that the customers or the consumers wish to have a Social Presence, then the immediate question that follows is that how to develop a or build their own personal profile for doing the same? [67] This would mean that the individual would need to follow certain guidelines or at least possess some qualities that would allow them to maintain a Social Presence that they could utilize to boost themselves.

The easiest answer to this problem is to position yourself as a Thought Leader which increases your Brand value exponentially on Social media where people are looking for expert opinions. Simply put, Thought Leaders are people who are considered as experts in their field, which can vary from Arts, Technology, Sports to even Religion. These people provide a detailed analysis or critique of a topic or a product and the people who follow them are able to use this analysis for either their own purposes or for increasing their own learning.

In becoming a Thought leader, the individual gains a personality [68], which is the primary motive for one such person. However this may seemingly backfire as well, as a certain negative perception or analysis may lead to an abysmal response from the readers or viewers. The laws of Social Media remain applicable to an individual as much as they do to a company. However, by the title of thought Leader, an individual can also become a Brand Personality and they can hence become synonymous with a particular brand [69], i.e. whenever anything related to a particular brand happens, the users will always flock towards the opinion of the Brand Leader.

Hypothesis 5: If the brand page/profile provides the user with Social Presence, then it positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

Entertainment

Entertainment is something that becomes extremely vague in its definition. Although there is no denying the fact that enjoyment is a major factor in determining how the consumer will interact with the company, and therefore the companies should take it seriously [70]. However, there are two important aspects of entertainment that almost all definition hold in them and are thus to be measured in these Social Media pages

  1. The significance of playfulness in the purchase or the interaction between the user and the company [70].
  2. The aesthetics involved, at all the points of interaction i.e. from the first touch point, to the delivery of product and services [71] [72].

Apart from these two broader perspectives, there have been certain researches that have registered the fact that the sense of belonging at any juncture increases the enjoyment that customer has with the company’s page or profile [73]. However, to increase that amount of entertainment, there should be a certain strategy in place by the company or at least a certain team which looks exclusively at the content generation [33]. One of the major examples of this is the Social Media marketing team of Amul who keep on creating animated versions of the recent events happening around the world, some of which also find their space on the print media and other channels as well.

However, Amul’s Social Media team, especially their Facebook and Twitter teams have done the most amount of work as they strategically place their advertisements by keeping in mind various factors that are involved in the increasing the entertainment profile of the page [74]. Theirs is credited to be India’s premier brand in terms of storytelling through the advertisements on Facebook, and their tick marks most of the variables that Facebook employs in increasing the brand profile [76]. This is also helped by the user’s positive word of mouth and constant feedback and suggestion for what topic can be utilized by the company for their next ads through their Social Media pages [75]. Also, this implies that the companies should respect Social Media the same way they respect the other mediums, in a way that it needs to a conversation and not a monologue, as keeping a pulse on what entertains people is a necessity [76].

Hypothesis 6: The amount of entertainment provided through the profile/page positively affects the user satisfaction level from the profile/page.

Satisfaction

At the end of all the variables, we need to determine, what exactly would be the end result which the company hopes to secure, and that is Satisfaction for the user. Now in this scenario, the companies will try and divide them into several instances so that they can easily determine in which field they are lagging and where they can relax a bit. Following are the key area of determinants for the companies:

  1. How much the consumer/user/interacting person is happy with the brand, if it he isn’t then what can be done to make him happy [77]
  2. Electronic Word of Mouth or e-WOM and how much the brand need them [78]
  3. How small business are looking to lure customers through online satisfaction, one of the primary example of it being Fly by Knight

However, a company cannot satisfy all the individuals that are associated with the page unless they keep in mind the following types of capitals [79] that are usually coined when defining the terms Social Media

  1. Value Capital- This is the expected sum that will be realized if the product was able to provide any sort of monetary gain to the consumer. This then becomes a part of the Economic Benefit to the consumer that can be levied through various promotional campaigns or schemes [79].
  2. Relational Capital- This is the relationship building capital which comes from providing a sense of Social Presence to the consumer that is then levied by the company. Interaction and Collaboration are big parts of providing this capital [80].
  3. Brand Capital- Brand Capital is the faith in brand that a customer or consumer possesses which he then passes on through various mediums. The primary methods of providing this are through providing quality information and entertainment through the brand page [81].

Also, the company must not rely only on the mere conversations to understand all the satisfaction points of the existing or future customers or followers of their Social Media pages or profiles. They must also try and determine the conceptual underpinnings of research that help in guiding the satisfaction [82], the various geographical units of analysis that keep on changing as per the location in which they are present [83], as well as the varying constructs that come into the picture with these variables [84].

Moderating Variables

After determining the constructs, we now need to determine the control variable along which we would be measuring these parameters. The three variables on the basis of which we are going to determine our analysis are:             

  • Age of the Social Media User

This is one of the more prominent features of Social Media i.e. the age determination that determines the level of usage of Social Media. As researched by Panjakajornsa & Lerrthaitraku [85], the younger the audience, the more prominently they are using the various Social Media platforms and are emerging as Thought Leaders in one field or another, leaving behind their older counterparts. Hence our study has been aimed towards a collegiate audience which is in the age-group of 16-25 (undergraduates, postgraduates and young people early in their corporate lives) for this study.

  • Smart Phones usage

Another major factor for the usage of Social Media is the usage of smart phones. With the ever increasing rates at which the smart phones are sold, and the decreasing prices at which mobile phone manufacturers are launching them, more the user is gravitating towards the usage of Social Media as they are now easily accessible through their smart phones [86]. They can now browse through the various platforms, which are just one click away and stay connected at all possible points of time. Hence, measuring the smart phone usage is one of the key features of the study.

  • Gender

Although there doesn’t seem to be any discrepancy between the males and females in the usage of smart phones, the notion is that certain platforms are better suited to some according to the genders. Therefore, if there is any connection between the gender of the Social Media platform user, and the usage of Social Media, then this study would figure this out [87].

Research Methodology

Methodology and Questionnaire Development

For completely understanding the impact of Social Media on the society, and how it impacts the typical IMC model, we had to do an analysis on both the companies as well as the users. In between both of them, there were several factors that need to be understood, that individually led to the development of the questionnaire for both of them.

Questionnaire for the company

The questionnaire for the company focused on few factors that we were able to figure out using various studies conducted by Consultancy firms and by various outlines that were provided in previous research papers [5][7][11][12]. The overall development was to determine how seriously are the companies involving Social Media platforms in their Integrated Marketing Communication models going forward, if at all. This was done keeping in mind the following key aspects:

  1. The primary objectives that the companies possess when they decide to start their presence on a Social Media platform and the factors that are kept in mind before launching it, along with the preparations done
  2. The amount that is spent on Social Media and if they are deciding to create a separate individual team for it
  3. Whether or not, they are realising the importance of accessing Social Media through Smart Phones
  4. The key challenges that they realise that they would face when they start on a platform or the roadblocks that they may run into
  5. The amount of interaction that they have or plan to maintain with the users when they finally decide to be on a Social Media platform
  6. Are they going to launch a Social Media strategy, keep it as an exclusive team, or mix both of them?  Also if they intend to align the Social Media strategy with their business goals.
  7. What are the various drivers of the Social Media campaigns i.e. are they internally driven for betterment or are they lead by their competitors existing on Social Media?
  8. The average number of time and platforms that are taken into consideration before they launch a Social Media campaign.
  9. How do they integrate their various Social Media platforms with the other mediums of communication with the people? Do they advertise them through other channels, or let them grow organically?
  10. How do they measure impact of the Social Media platforms that they have been using or have started to use? Also what are the various Business Metrics that they employ for such purposes?

These are the certain guidelines on the basis of which we created a set of 31 questions for the companies which was answered by 22 companies, including companies like the IT giants Infosys and TCS, companies that primarily spend a lot of focus and resources on Social Media like Microsoft and Snapdeal, and Consultancy firms which study these parameters like Ernst and Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers. The answers were gained by either the HR of the firms who then passed on the questionnaires to the Marketing team or to the Marketing team directly, wherever a direct contact was available. The questionnaire for the companies is submitted as Exhibit 1.

Questionnaire for the Users

For the users, it became even more complicated when it was realised that the consumers may not view a particular Social Media campaign in the same light as the users that were probably being estimated by the companies. With that in mind, several constructs were utilised for defining the questionnaire on the basis of which the analysis has been done. The primary constructs of the model are:

  1. Information Quality: When a user decides to start following a company or brand on a Social Media platform, one of the key aspects that he looks towards is the quality of the information that the page/profile provides him. A lack of information or poor information may lead to an erosion of the user base which can be detrimental for the company.
  2. Product Related Learning: By following a brand on Social Media, a user wishes to know more about what he will get if they decide to follow the company. Part of this is determined the information of the products that he can use if he decides to purchase one from the company. Poor or insufficient learning can again be detrimental for the cause of the company.
  3. Economic benefit: Although, not all companies will provide Economic Benefits, and all the customers are not expecting it either, but a chance of monetary or any other gains, is always going to boost the profile of the company, and certain offers may go viral as well.
  4. Interactivity and Collaboration: Most of the basic mediums of advertising are a monologue, i.e. one way conversations where the companies merely tell the user about their products. However, Social Media platforms act as a proper dialogue between the two, in which the users can extract the information they require, and settle the doubts that may persist from the information that is already provided.
  5. Social Presence: In this age of Social Media, mostly everyone longs to have a Social Presence where they are able to influence others with their own capabilities. The mass interactive points, that are the company’s pages and profiles, allow the users for establishing themselves as Thought Leaders experts which then lead to loyalty from such users.
  6. Entertainment: Lastly, while lack of entertainment is never harmful, its presence, like Economic benefit, greatly increases the value of the Social Media page or profile of the said company. Hence this is again a construct that needs to be kept in mind.

These are the said constructs on the basis of which we created our questionnaire for the users. A total of 479 respondents answered the questionnaire which were distributed in their age groups, mostly in the range of 20-30 years (351 respondents), which is the major user group for the various Social Media platforms. Also, a healthy percentage of Male: Female ratio was found (60:40 approximately), which allowed us realise that even though, the majority of the users are males, the number isn’t a huge imbalance, and may be corrected in the future. The questionnaire for the companies is submitted as Exhibit 2.

Demographic breakdown for the users

A total of 479 people participated in the survey and the ratio of male and female participants have been approximately 60:40 as depicted in Table 1.

Table 1 Demographic Information

CategoryNumber of Users (Percentage)
GenderFemale
Male
193 (40.29%)
286 (59.71%)
Age<20
21-25
26-30
30>
15 (3.13%)
281 (58.66%)
170 (35.49%)
13 (2.71%)
Social Media Application Usage Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube
Instagram
Google+
Blog
Pinterest
FourSquare
320 (66.81%)
209 (43.63%)
231 (48.23%)
274 (57.20%)
131 (27.35%)
174 (36.33%)
93 (19.42%)
99 (20.67%)
62 (12.94%)
Usage FrequencyLight Users
<30 minutes
30-60minutes
1-3 hours
Heavy Users
3-5 hours
5 hours>

83 (17.33%)
110 (22.96%)
141 (29.44%)

100 (20.88%)
45 (9.39%)
Smart Phone Usage Light Users
<10%
10-25%
26-50%
Heavy Users
50%>

98 (20.46%)
57 (11.90%)
138 (28.81%)

186 (38.83%)
Reasons for using Social MediaSocial Interaction

Information Seeking

Leisure Time Spending

Entertainment

Relaxation

Expression of Opinion

Meeting New People

Things to Talk About

Convenience

Dating
223 (46.56%)

235 (49.06%)

260 (54.28%)

288 (60.13%)

227 (47.39%)

193 (40.29%)

157 (32.78%)

160 (33.40%)

136 (28.38%)

90 (18.79%)
Brand Engagement measure through profile/page visitsHighly level of engagement Multiple times a day
Once a day
Once every 2-3 days
Once a week

Low level of engagement
Once a month
Not visiting them, but merely reading the updates through news feed
67 (13.99%)
118 (24.63%)
68 (14.20%)
110 (22.96%)


41 (8.56%)
75 (15.66%

Choosing One Social Media PlatformFacebook
Instagram
LinkedIn
Twitter
YouTube
223 (46.56%)
57 (11.90%)
52 (10.86%)
147 (30.69%)
0 (0%)

Age: 

As the survey was conducted to understand the social media application usage among people, the participants were divided in various age groups based on tastes and preferences which change from being a student to being a professional.

Social Media Application Usage:

 To understand the social media application usage, the social media sites that were chosen were carefully selected so that it represents both leisure activities and professional interests including various hobbies like photography and writing. As the survey results show, Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites used followed closely by YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. The results also show the popularity and awareness of the various social media sites.

Usage Frequency:

Once the usage was determined the next logical step was to understand the usage frequency. To understand the usage frequency the participants were divided into light users and heavy users. People who used social media for less than three hours were categorized as light users while people who used it for more than three hours were categorized as heavy users. The two categories were further subdivided to precisely understand the usage patterns among users.The results clearly show that light users form a majority of people who use social media.

Smart Phone Usage:

Since smart phones these days form the major media through which people access social media sites, this criterion tries to capture people who mostly access social media through their phones. The usage frequency through smart phones was also divided into light and heavy users but here the division was based on the fraction of time the person uses mobile phone to access social media. People who access social media more than 50% of the time through smart phones were categorized as heavy users and the rest were categorized as light users and the survey clearly shows that there is shift towards using smart phones as the medium for accessing social media.

Reasons for using Social Media:

The next criterion was to determine the reasons why social media is used. The survey shows that  from a list of varied reasons the most coveted reason for using social media entertainment followed closely by spending leisure time, information seeking and social interaction which again corresponds to the earlier finding that the most popular social media sites are Facebook (spending leisure time and social interaction), YouTube (entertainment), LinkedIn (information seeking).The reasons for using social media along with the usage frequency and social media application usage also points towards the fact how effectively or ineffectively people use their time on social media.

Brand Engagement measure through profile/page visits:

The next criterion was to understand the level of brand engagement through profile and page visits and to understand the same the users were again divided into high and low level of engagement. The brand engagement measure along with usage frequency gives an idea of how much time the average user spends on profile/page visits. An active user would visit maybe once or multiple times a day while a user with low level of engagement will visit maybe once a month or would only read the updates while not taking an active part in posting or sharing.

Choosing One Social Media Platform:

 Lastly to understand the most coveted social media platform the users were asked to choose one amongst the most popular ones and Facebook stands out a clear winner with 46.56% of the votes.

Introduction to SPSS and Regression

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) is one of its kind software that turns raw data into information that can prove really vital for decision making in various industrial sectors. This was launched in 1968 with a motive of local usage to integrate information from different departments collected through varied sources. It was noted that this could be put to different utilities and can help in arriving at optimal or near optimal solutions to complex problems. Later this software was distributed internationally and is being used extensively by people across the globe and different arenas.

SPSS technology has helped in making difficult analytical tasks easier through advances in usability and data access, enabling more people to benefit from the use of quantitative techniques in making decision.

Regression analysis is the approach used for the functioning of this tool. It is a process for estimating the relationships among variables. It involves many techniques for modelling and analysing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. More specifically, regression analysis helps one understand how the typical value of the dependent variable (or ‘criterion variable’) changes when any one of the independent variables is varied, while the other independent variables are held fixed. Most commonly, regression analysis estimates the conditional expectation of the dependent variable given the independent variables – that is, the average value of the dependent variable when the independent variables are fixed. Less commonly, the focus is on a quantile, or other location parameter of the conditional distribution of the dependent variable given the independent variables. In all cases, the estimation target is a function of the independent variables called the regression function. In regression analysis, it is also of interest to characterize the variation of the dependent variable around the regression function which can be described by a probability distribution.

People use regression on an intuitive level every day. In business, a well-dressed man is thought to be financially successful. A mother knows that more sugar in her children’s diet results in higher energy levels. The ease of waking up in the morning often depends on how late you went to bed the night before. Quantitative regression adds precision by developing a mathematical formula that can be used for predictive purposes.

For example, a medical researcher might want to use body weight (independent variable) to predict the most appropriate dose for a new drug (dependent variable). The purpose of running the regression is to find a formula that fits the relationship between the two variables. Then you can use that formula to predict values for the dependent variable when only the independent variable is known. A doctor could prescribe the proper dose based on a person’s body weight.

Linear Regression

Linear Regression is a method of making forecasts based on one independent and dependent variable. The observations are put into a linear equation and a model is created after identifying the relationship between the two variables. It is represented as:

f(x) = mx + b,

Variables, constants, and coefficients are represented in the equation of a line as:

x – the independent variable

f(x) – the dependent variable

The constant b denotes the y-intercept—this will be the value of the dependent variable if the independent variable is equal to zero

The coefficient m describes the movement in the dependent variable as a result of a given movement in the independent variables.

Non-linear regression

In case, there are multiple variables involved, the linear equation is modified and least squares method is used.

Using least squares method, the values of slope m and y-intercept can be given as:

Slope m = Σ (yi-y) (xi-x) / Σ(xi-x)2

And y-intercept c = y – m*x

Where x = mean value of x-values, y=mean of y-values

Why Regression is used in this case

Regression is used because of the various degree of importance of the constructs in relation to the satisfaction factor, which we determined was the dependent factor while the remaining constructs were the independent factors. Thus the following method was used for data analysis:

  1. All the variables were added for a particular construct using the “Compute Variable” definition in SPSS. For e.g. all the variable questions that defined the Economic Benefit provided were added to form the ECO_BENEFIT variable which was then used for the analysis. The only exception were Interactivity and Collaboration, which were added together to form COLL_INTERACTIVITY
  2. We then used the “Recode into different variables” method for computing the Control Variables and then classifying them for the analysis. The different classes formed were as follows:
  3. Males and Females on the Gender variable
  4. Heavy and Light Users in the Social Media user category. Light users were defined as users being on Social Media till 3 hours, and Heavy users were those who were present on Social Media for more than 3 hours.
  5. Heavy and Light Smart Phone Users in the Smart Phone category. Light users were defined as users who used up to 25% of their Social Media usage through their Smart Phones; while Heavy Users were those whose usage exceeded 25%.

Companies Results

Total companies that responded to the survey were 22, including companies like Microsoft, Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), Eaton, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.

CategoryNumber of Users (Percentage)
Social Media that the companies are using Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube
Instagram
Blog
Pinterest
22
13
13
9
15
8
2
Primary objectives of being on Social MediaIncreasing Brand Awareness
Engaging the Customer
Building a Community
Reputation Management
Customer Service
Research
Hiring

16
14
15
11
7
5
7
Key challenges faced by the brandMeasuring Effectiveness
Customer Service
Social Media Policy and Governance
Response Management
Content Creation
Sustain/Increase Engagement Rate
Acquiring the right target groups
Acquiring fans and followers
Budget allocation
12
4
4
8
11
8
7
6
3
New activities initiatedSetting up a new In-House Social Media team
Launch a 360 degree integrated campaign
Launch a Social Media exclusive campaign
Introduced the brand on a new Social Media platform
Introduced a Social Media monitoring tool
Initiated Social Media CRM efforts

9

7

9


4

7

5
Investment reasonsWhat competitors are doing
Customer Insight
Market Trends
Already allocated budget
3
6
12
4
Current MeasurementsEngagement with the users
Social Reach
Visitor Frequency
Visitor Growth Rates
Brand Sentiments
Brand mentions
Share of Voice
Share of Total visitors for the industry
11

6
8
11
5
6
3
3
Business MetricsLeads
Conversions
Sales
Customer Service Cost
Customer Acquisition Cost
ROI
9
6
6
4
2

4
Factors favouring the companies to go for Social Media MarketingHow users reveal themselves on Social Media
How people communicate
Freedom to share your opinion
How it helps in customer relationships
Social standing/reputation
How people make networks/groups
Easy way of communication
Saving costs by means of online interaction
10
6
5
6
4
4
6
6

Social Media that the companies are using

Under this criterion, all of the 22 companies surveyed responded to be using Facebook as social media platform. While both Twitter and LinkedIn are being used by the 13 companies, out the 22 surveyed. Nine companies acknowledged the use of Youtube, meanwhile 8 responded to be using Blog. Google+ and Instagram are being used by 7 and 5 companies respectively, out of the pool of 22. Pinterest got the minimum response as only 2 companies, namely Giftxoxo and Pankhuri Florist are using it.

Primary objectives of being on Social Media

For this criterion, 16 companies opted for ‘Increasing Brand Awareness’ as the primary reason. ‘Building a Community’ was recognized as an objective by 15 companies, while ‘Engaging the Customer’ was selected by 14 companies. ‘Reputation Management’ was chosen by 11 companies. ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Hiring’ both got acknowledged by 7 companies as primary objectives. Five companies responded in favour of ‘Research’ as an objective.

Key challenges faced by the brand

 Under this, ‘Measuring Effectiveness’ got the maximum i.e. of 12 companies, followed by ‘Content Creation’ which was selected by 11 companies. Both ‘Response Management’ and ‘Sustain/Increase Engagement Rate’ were recognized as a challenge by 8 companies. Seven companies responded in favour of ‘Acquiring the right target groups’, whereas 6 companies identified ‘Acquiring fans and followers’ as a key challenge. Only 3 companies i.e. Giftxoxo, Eaton and Make it Charming opted to go for ‘Budget Allocation’ as a challenge.

New activities initiated

Under this category, 9 companies selected both ‘Setting up a new In-House Social Media team’ and ‘Launch a Social Media exclusive campaign’. Whereas ‘Launch a 360 degree integrated campaign’ and ‘Introduced a Social Media monitoring tool’ were each recognized as new initiatives by 7 companies. ‘Initiated Social Media CRM efforts’ were acknowledged by 5 and ‘Introduced the brand on a new Social Media platform’ by 4 companies respectively.

Investment reasons

Under this criterion, ‘Market Trends’ occupy the greatest importance with 12 companies responding to it as an investment reason. ‘Customer Insight’ comes next with 6 companies opting in its favour. ‘Already allocated budget’ was recognized by 4 companies, while ‘What competitors are doing’ was selected by 3 companies.

Current Measurements

For this category, 11 companies responded positively for both ‘Engagement with the users’ and ‘Visitor Growth Rates’. ‘Visitor Frequency’ was selected by 8 companies as current measurements, whereas 6 companies opted for both ‘Social Reach’ and ‘Brand mentions’. ‘Brand Sentiments’ was acknowledged by 5 companies. And lastly, 3 companies recognized ‘Share of Voice’ and ‘Share of Total visitors for the industry’ as current measurements.

Business Metrics

Under this division, 9 companies opted to go for ‘Leads’ as a major Business Metric. Six companies went for ‘Conversions’ and ‘Sales’, whereas 4 companies each were in favour of ‘Customer Service Cost’ and ‘ Return on Investment( ROI)’. Only 2 companies, TFS and Giftxoxo , went for ‘Customer Acquisition Cost’.

Factors favouring the companies to go for Social Media Marketing

Under this criterion, ‘How users reveal themselves on Social Media’ got the maximum selection with 10 companies opting for it. This is followed by ‘How people communicate’, ‘How it helps in customer relationships’ and ‘Saving costs by means of online interaction’ which are each acknowledged by 6 companies. ‘Freedom to share your opinion’ was selected by 5 companies. ‘Social standing/reputation’ and ‘How people make networks/groups’, both were recognized as factors by 4 companies. 

50% of the companies surveyed have an overall marketing budget of 0-5%, whereas 27.3% companies have a marketing budget between 11-20%. 13.6% of the companies surveyed have a marketing budget in range of 6-10% while 9.1% of the companies have more than 20% of marketing budget.

63.6% of the companies surveyed didn’t have Mobile Apps while 18.2% have Mobile Apps. The remaining 18.2% companies are under process of developing Mobile Apps .

59.1% of the companies surveyed employ exclusively for Social Media campaign teams while the remaining 40.9% don’t. However, as an additional comment, few comments suggested that they were planning to create exclusive teams in the nearby future.

36.7% of the companies have multiple posts daily, 18.2% of the companies have 1 post daily, 18.2% have 1 post per week, 9.1% have 2-3 posts daily and remaining 17.8% have no set time frequency

27.3% of the companies have a response time of less than an hour, 27.3% have 1-3 hours, 13.7% have 3-5 hours, 4.5% take 5-10 hours, and 22.7% do it within a day, while 4.5% do it after a day. This shows that the companies do value the fact that Social Media platforms are a two-way communications stream and hence the customers should immediately get a response to their queries.

50% of the companies surveyed have not Linked Social media strategy to Business Goals but they have a strategic take to their Social Media strategies, while 13.6% are the frontrunners having a strategic plan for Social Media linked to their Business Goals, whereas the remaining 36.3% are working on it.

72.7% of the companies involved Marketing department, 36.4% involved PR department, 27.3% involved both HR and Customer Services department, 9% involved Legal, 18% involved Sales and 32% involved the IT department for the overall working of the Social Media platforms

43% of the companies surveyed said that Recruitment is the main reason, apart from connecting with customers, for using social Media. 4.5% opted for Internal Communications. 9% responded with CSR as their option. 27.3% replied Thought Leadership as their reason for using Social Media apart from interacting with their day-to-day customers.

31.8% of the companies surveyed have exclusive deals, while 27.2% don’t have exclusive deals. 4.5% of the companies will launch it soon while the remaining 36.5% maintain a neutral stance.

Users Results

Hypothesis Analysis

Hypothesis 1: Information Quality positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

From the Model summary we can see that 33.1% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Information Quality.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 7.409 + 0.733 (INFO_QUALITY)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Information Quality is 0, the Satisfaction level is 7.409.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 0.733, so if Information Quality goes up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 0.733.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Information Quality positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. However from the model summary, we see that Information Quality does not explain the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, but the increment or decrement in Information Quality present on the webpage or profile of the brand will impact the Satisfaction that the users would derive from the webpage.

Keeping this in mind, the information available on the web page should be highly monitored. The implication for this being that Information Quality is being treated as a hygiene factor. It might not be able to bring viewers to the webpage or profile. But what is being posted may lead to the brand earning praise or criticism for the content. In that regard, Information Quality is an important factor in the overall satisfaction of the user.

Hypothesis 2: Product Related Learning positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

From the Model summary we can see that 36.5% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Product Related Learning

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 7.590 + 1.055 (PROD_LEARNING)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Product Related Learning is 0, the Satisfaction level is 7.590.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 1.055, so if Product Learning goes up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 1.055.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Product Related Learning positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. However from the model summary, we see that Product Learning does not explain the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, but the increment or decrement in Product Learning present on the webpage or profile of the brand will impact the Satisfaction that the users would derive from the webpage by a very significant margin since the rate of increase in Satisfaction is more than the rate of increase in Product Learning.

Keeping this in mind, the company should try and keep as much product related information, which is easily understandable and relevant to the users. The implication for this being that Product Learning is being treated as a hygiene factor. It might not be able to bring viewers to the webpage or profile. But the content being shared about the products, if useful, may lead to the users being happy with the page. In that regard, Product Learning is an important factor in the overall satisfaction of the user.

Hypothesis 3: The Economic Benefits provided positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

From the Model summary we can see that 52.4% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Economic Benefits.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 4.982 + 0.564 (ECO_BENEFIT)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Economic Benefit is 0, the Satisfaction level is 4.982.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 0.564, so if Economic Benefits go up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 0.564.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Economic Benefits positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. Also, from the model summary, we see that Economic Benefits explains the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, the most in terms of all the independent variables that we have taken, but the increment or decrement in economic benefits present on the webpage or profile of the brand will not impact the Satisfaction by a substantial margin.

Keeping this in mind, we can infer that the benefits provided can be used to attract the users to the page. However, after that the economic benefits may not be able to retain the users as they will keep on looking out for other such pages which involve them getting more benefits.

Hypothesis 4: Collaboration and Interactivity by the company representative positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

From the Model summary we can see that 47.5% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Collaboration and Interactivity.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 5.941 + 0.647 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Information Quality is 0, the Satisfaction level is 5.941.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 0.647, so if Collaboration and Interactivity factor goes up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 0.647.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Information Quality positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. Also, from the model summary, we see that Collaboration and Interactivity explain the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, the second most in terms of all the independent variables that we have taken, but the increment or decrement in Collaboration and Interactivity that the users get from the webpage or profile of the brand will not impact the Satisfaction by a substantial margin as other variables.

Keeping this in mind, we can infer that the interactivity provided can be used to attract the users to the page. However, after that the users may not stay, as if they visit any other similar websites and find that the interaction is better there, they might leave the first website for the other one.

Hypothesis 5: If the brand page/profile provides the user with Social Presence, then it positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile

From the Model summary we can see that 36.9% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Social Presence.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 7.010 + 0.776 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Social Presence is 0, the Satisfaction level is 7.010.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 0.776, so if Information Quality goes up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 0.776.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Social Presence positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. However from the model summary, we see that Social Presence does not explain the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, but the increment or decrement in Social Presence that a user gets from being present on the webpage or profile of the brand will impact the Satisfaction that the users would derive from the webpage.

Keeping this in mind, the webpages should allow the users to be able to get enough Social Presence i.e. they should not block posting attempts unless they are posting graphical, violent or nudist messages, in which case the web page should be highly monitored. The implication for this being that Social Presence is being treated as a hygiene factor. It might not be able to bring viewers to the webpage or profile. But how much visibility a user is able to garner, may lead to the brand earning praise or criticism for the brand.

Hypothesis 6: The amount of entertainment provided through the profile/page positively affects the user satisfaction level from the profile/page.

From the Model summary we can see that 33.9% of the variance in Satisfaction can be explained by Entertainment.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Independent Variables table, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 8.218 + 1.004 (ENTERTAINMENT)

The column headed ‘Unstandardized Coefficients’, gives us firstly the value of the constant, a, which is the intercept or the predicted value of X if Y is 0, in other words if the Entertainment is 0, the Satisfaction level is 8.218.  It also gives us our b (dependent variable – Satisfaction) coefficient, the value that Y will change by if X changes by 1 unit. That value is 1.004, so if Entertainment goes up by 1, Satisfaction is predicted to go up by 1.004.

From the above analysis it is implied that the slope is statistically significant. Hence our hypothesis that Entertainment positively affects the satisfaction of the user from the brand page/profile holds true. However from the model summary, we see that Entertainment does not explain the overall variance for Satisfaction by a significant number, but the increment or decrement in Entertainment present on the webpage or profile of the brand will impact the Satisfaction that the users would derive from the webpage by a very significant margin since the rate of increase in Satisfaction is more than the rate of increase in Entertainment.

Keeping this in mind, the company should try and keep and make their webpages as entertaining as possible. The implication for this being that Entertainment is being treated as a factor that helps the company in keeping the users on the webpage. However, it might not be able to bring viewers to the webpage or profile. If the Entertainment that a user receives from the webpage is high, than they are going to be happy with the page. In that regard, Entertainment is an important factor in the overall satisfaction of the user.

Moderating Variables Analysis

As explained during the Regression phase, the control variables were categorised into 2 parts each. Thus the analysis is done on the basis of these bifurcated variables.

Gender

  • Male

When we look at the Model Summary Table after choosing the Gender as Male, we get that the dependent variable Satisfaction can be explained with 68.7% of the data.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Gender Male, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 0.939 + 0.520 (ECO_BENEFIT) + 0.285 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.438 (PROD_LEARNING) – 0.037 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.442 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.469 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a male user wants to access a brand page, he will focus more on the Economic Benefits provided through the webpage, the Information Quality available on the page, the amount of Product Learning received, the Social Presence they can obtain, and the Entertainment that he is able to get from that page. However, the same won’t be true for Collaboration and Interactivity that he receives from the company webpage or website. Moreover, it can be seen that if rest of the factors remain constant, an increment of a unit in the amount of collaboration and interactivity that a male viewer sees on a webpage, decreases his satisfaction from the webpage by 0.037 units. Same is the case with Social Presence; however a drop in the Satisfaction rate here is much higher at 0.442 units.

Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that there is no factor which is able to bring the male customers to the website on its own. However, the factors that play a pivotal part in keeping the male viewers to the webpage are Economic Benefits, Product Learning and Entertainment, and hence if a webpage is catering to this demographic, they should try and keep these 3 elements intact. 

  • Female

From the Model Summary Table, we can see that only 55.9% of the data maps out with the dependent variable which is much lesser compared to that of the males

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Gender Female, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 3.975 + 0.159 (ECO_BENEFIT) + 0.043 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.553 (PROD_LEARNING) + 0.331 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.261 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.254 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a female user wants to access a brand page, she will focus more on the amount of Product Learning received, the Collaboration and Interactivity she can obtain, and the Entertainment that she is able to get from that page. However, the same won’t be true for the Economic Benefits, the Information Quality received from the webpage, and Social Presence that she receives on the company webpage or website. Moreover, it can be seen that if rest of the factors remain constant, an increment of a unit in the amount of Social Presence that a female viewer sees on a webpage, decreases her satisfaction from the webpage by 0.261 units. However, unlike males, that is the only factor that leads to a decrement in the satisfaction rate of the viewer category. Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that again there is no factor which is able to bring the female customers to the website on its own. Also, the factor that plays a pivotal part in keeping the female viewers is Product Learning, and hence that is what the companies should focus on the most if they are trying to keep the female demographic on their webpage

Variables/ Constructs Male Females
Economic Benefits Fits Does Not Fits
Information Quality Fits Does Not Fits
Product Learning Fits Fits
Collaboration & Interactivity Does Not Fits Fits
Social Presence Fits Does Not Fits
Entertainment Fits Fits

From the analysis of the 2 variable classes in Gender, we can see that Males and Females only relate with each other in 2 variables, Product Learning and Entertainment. For the rest of the variables, their opinions are different from one other. Also, Males are acceptable towards Economic Benefits, Information Quality and Social Presence, while disapproving of Collaboration of Interactivity, while the reverse is true for Females.

Apart from this, a critical component of designing a webpage would be checking the factors that lead to users not being satisfied with the page. While in the case of male viewers, it is Collaboration and Interactivity and Social Presence, it is merely Social Presence in the case of females. Hence the company owners need to design the webpages keeping these factors in mind as well.

This would mean that designing a webpage, that appeals to both Males and Females, would mean that Product Learning and Entertainment should be an integral part of it. Also, if the companies want to keep their demographics different and offer their services to one of them, they would have to make certain changes according to their choices and likings.

Social Media Users

  • Light Users (Less than or equal to 3 hours of social media usage in a day)

According to users table, 63.6% of the Social Media light users can be fitted into the dependent variable calculation

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Light Social Media Users, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 2.003 + 0.301 (ECO_BENEFIT) + 0.111 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.560 (PROD_LEARNING) + 0.146 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.301 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.439 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a light social media user wants to access a brand page, he will focus more on the Economic Benefits provided through the webpage, the amount of Product Learning received, the Social Presence they can obtain, and the Entertainment that he/she is able to get from that page. However, the same won’t be true for Information Quality and Collaboration and Interactivity that he/she receives from the company webpage or website. This can likely be explained by the fact that these users do not remain on the webpage for much longer period of time, and hence they do not wish for either of these. Moreover, an increment of a unit in the amount of Social Presence that a light user sees on a webpage decreases their satisfaction from the webpage by 0.301 units.

Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that there is no factor which is able to bring the light social media customers to the website on its own. However, the factors that play a pivotal part in keeping them to the webpage are Product Learning and Entertainment, and hence if a webpage is catering to this demographic, they should try and keep these 2 elements intact. 

  • Heavy User (More than 3 hours of social media usage in a day)

From the Model table, we can see that 61.2% of the data from the Heavy category can be used to explain the data.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Heavy Social Media Users, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 4.086 + 0.343 (ECO_BENEFIT) + 0.254 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.433 (PROD_LEARNING) + 0.193 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.371 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.068 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a light social media user wants to access a brand page, he will focus more on the Economic Benefits provided through the webpage, the Collaboration and Interactivity they can obtain, the amount of Product Learning received, and the Social Presence they can obtain. However, the same won’t be true for Information Quality and Entertainment that they receive from the company webpage or website. Moreover, an increment of a unit in the amount of Social Presence that a light user sees on a webpage decreases their satisfaction from the webpage by 0.371 units. Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that there is no factor which is able to bring the heavy social media customers to the website on its own. However, the factor that plays a pivotal part in keeping them to the webpage is Product Learning and hence if a webpage is catering to this demographic, they should try and keep this element intact.  This is probably explained by the fact that these heavy social media users spend a lot of their time reading about the products in order to increase their knowledge, compare about the various products or reproduce the knowledge in another medium

From the analysis between the Light and Heavy Users, we can see that apart from Collaboration and Interactivity and Entertainment, their views on rest of the constructs are similar to each other. Both of these sets of users agree that Economic Benefits, Social Presence and Product learning are required for the users while Information Quality does not play a major role. However, the Heavy Users require Collaboration and Interactivity from the webpage owners and those who run them as an added motivation, while Entertainment serves that purpose for the Light Users.

Apart from this, a critical component of designing a webpage would be checking the factors that lead to users not being satisfied with the page. While in the case of light users, it is Collaboration and Interactivity and Information Quality, it is Information Quality and Entertainment in the case of females. Hence the company owners need to design the webpages keeping these factors in mind as well.

This would mean that designing a webpage, that appeals to both Light and Heavy users would mean that Economic Benefits, Product Learning and Social Presence should be an integral part of it. Also, if the companies want to keep their demographics different and offer their services to one of them, they would have to make certain changes according to their choices and likings.

Smart Phones

  • Light Users (Less than or equal to 50% usage of social media through smart phone)

From the Model, we can see that 60.3% of the data can be explained with the help of the Smart Phone Light Usage category.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Smart Phone Light Users, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 3.503 + 0.330 (ECO_BENEFIT) + 0.377 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.412 (PROD_LEARNING) + 0.056 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.370 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.275 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a light smart phone user wants to access a brand page, he will focus more on the Economic Benefits provided through the webpage, the Information Quality available on the webpage, the amount of Product Learning received, the Social Presence they can obtain, and the Entertainment that he/she is able to get from that page. However, the same won’t be true for Collaboration and Interactivity that he/she receives from the company webpage or website. This can likely be explained by the fact that these users do not remain on the webpage for much longer period of time, and hence they do not care for this component. Moreover, an increment of a unit in the amount of Social Presence that a light user sees on a webpage decreases their satisfaction from the webpage by 0.370 units.

Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that there is no factor which is able to bring the light smart phone users to the website on its own. However, the factors that play a pivotal part in keeping them to the webpage are Product Learning and Information Quality, and hence if a webpage is catering to this demographic, they should try and keep these 2 elements intact

  • Heavy Users (More than 50% of social media usage through smart phone)

From the Model summary we can see that 68.8% of the data can be mapped in the Smart Phone Heavy User category.

From the Anova table, we can understand that the regression model statistically significantly predicts the outcome variable, i.e. it is a good fit for the data since Sig is less than 0.05.

Predicting the dependent variable, Satisfaction, by using constant as the y-intercept and by using the rest of the constructs as beta values, from the Smart Phone Heavy Users, the equation would look like:

Satisfaction = 1.557 + 0.294 (ECO_BENEFIT) – 0.100 (INFO_QUALITY) + 0.530 (PROD_LEARNING) – 0.307 (COLL_INTERACTIVITY) – 0.192 (SOCIAL_PRESENCE) + 0.319 (ENTERTAINMENT)

From this Coefficient table, we can see that whenever a heavy smart phone user wants to access a brand page, he will focus more on the Economic Benefits provided through the webpage, the amount of Product Learning received, the Collaboration and Interactivity they can obtain, and the Entertainment that he/she is able to get from that page. However, the same won’t be true for Information Quality and Collaboration and Interactivity that he/she receives from the company webpage or website. Moreover, an increment of a unit in the amount of Social Presence that a light user sees on a webpage decreases their satisfaction from the webpage by 0.192 units. Same is the case with Information Quality; however the drop is much lesser at 0.100 units.

Also, from the analysis, it can be inferred that there is no factor which is able to bring the light social media customers to the website on its own. However, the factor that plays a pivotal part in keeping them to the webpage is Product Learning, and hence if a webpage is catering to this demographic, they should try and keep this element intact. This is probably explained by the fact that these heavy social media users spend a lot of their time reading about the products in order to increase their knowledge, compare about the various products or reproduce the knowledge in another medium.

According to this analysis, the Light and Heavy Smart Phone users agree that Economic Benefits, Product Learning and Entertainment are key factors that help in customer feeling satisfied with a Social Media platform. However, they have differing views on Information Quality, Collaboration and Interactivity, and Social Presence, as Light Users feel that Collaboration and Interactivity is the only one not required for satisfaction, while the Heavy Users do feel that it is necessary, and disregard Information Quality and Social Presence from their analysis. Hence the company owners need to design the webpages keeping these factors in mind as well.

This would mean that designing a webpage that appeals to both Light and Heavy Smart Phone users would mean that Economic Benefits, Product Learning and Entertainment should be an integral part of it. Also, if the companies want to keep their demographics different and offer their services to one of them, they would have to make certain changes according to their choices and likings.

Conclusion                

From the various tests that were run from the the Users and Companies perspective, there are certain factors the companies need to keep in mind for creating their Social Media campaigns. Few of the key analysis points that we have discovered would be crucial for determining how the companies can move forward in strategizing their Social Media marketing strategies.  

We can see from the answers that companies provided that there are still many companies that have not created a Mobile App for their companies even though they realise that they are going to be a major component in the nearby future. Plus the primary objective of using Social media revolves around Increasing the Brand Awareness as well as engaging the customer and Building a community. However in doing these things companies face a lot of issues, primarily centring on Content Creation for their Social media platform, and in Measuring Effectiveness of their campaigns, which can be mentioned as devising effective Business Metrics.  However in trying to sort out these issues, companies are bringing new initiatives like Setting up exclusive Social Media teams and Launching integrated Social Media campaigns that map out with their IMC plans. However, the initiatives are still driven more by Market trends and the Customer Insights and competitors do not play much of a role, something which may change in the future as companies start devising innovative methods of using the Social Media platforms. The Current measurement metric still revolve primarily around engaging with the users and visitor growth rates. This stems from the fact that the companies realise how the customers reveal themselves and communicate amongst themselves on Social Media.

Amongst all the companies that completed the survey, Facebook is the primary platform that everyone is currently on, mainly due to the reach and popularity. However, Twitter and LinkedIn are currently catching up with it with the number of companies now realising the effectiveness of them. Also companies realised that they need to introduce tools for measuring the Social Media campaigns as well as look into Customer Relationship Management through Social Media platforms. However this may be hampered by the fact that the companies cite that they have pre-allocated budgets for their campaigns and teams. Also, as mentioned by the companies there are increasing measurements in terms of Social reach and Brand mentions for determining how effective their campaigns are. Also setting up the Business Metrics becomes an issue with most companies opting for Sales and Conversions. However as previously mentioned, the companies are hampered by their marketing budgets, as 50% of the companies have allocated budgets of less than 5% of the Social Media teams and a further 13% had a budget under 10%. This might change as a majority of the companies had an exclusive Social Media team, which might become a trend leading to higher budget allocations. Also to keep the interaction up, more than 55% of the companies posted at least once through their various Social Media platforms, and close to 54% of the companies responded to the customer enquiries within 3 hours. Also, 72% of the decisions are related to the Marketing department, with other departments making a sporadic appearance as per their requirements. Also, the companies are now starting to use the Social Media platforms, not merely Linked, as hiring grounds for possible candidates for their companies.

From the User’s perspective, we analysed the hypothesis for the response that was received from the data collection, and we were able to verify that all of the independent variables contribute towards the satisfaction level of the users to a varying degree. Amongst those, Product Learning and Entertainment are the two variables, which are able to keep the viewers on the webpage more than any other variables. However, in terms of bringing people on the webpage, it is Product Learning and Collaboration and Interactivity that are viewed as better results provider and hence the company should focus on these factors to lure the viewers.

Also, we ran an analysis for the moderating variables, in order to realise how each of them impacted the satisfaction level of the viewers. Following table tries to summarize all the results that were run for the moderating variables:

From the above analysis, we can see that Product Learning is one variable which every category of user wants from the brand profile or page that they are following. This would mean that every page that is created must contain product related information that a user can access. Apart from that, Economic Benefits and Entertainment are two other factors which are considered as extremely important while designing a webpage by everyone except for the Females and the Heavy Social Media Demographics, and hence can become an integral part of the webpages being designed. However, on the flip side, Information Quality is a variable which is not favoured by any category except for the Males and Light Smart Phone Users. Apart from this, Collaboration and Interactivity is not favoured by Males and both of the Light category users, which can probably be explained by the fact that since they are spending lesser time on the webpages, they would require less collaboration from the administrators of the page. Apart from this, we were able to verify that Social Presence is the only variable across all of the categories, which if increased from its already present state, caused a decrement in the satisfaction level of the users. This would mean that the page administrators would need to keep a check on it and maintain an optimum level, since they would not want their viewers to be put off because of this factor.

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Gaurav Mehrotra

Gaurav Mehrotra is a Digital Marketing specialist who lives and breathes everything Digital in Marketing and focuses primarily on Inbound Marketing while having a penchant for public speaking and guest lectures. Over his professional career, he has been associated in various capacities with brands like EY, KPMG, Accenture Management Consulting and Rocket Internet among others, and has assumed many roles, before his thirst for Digital brought him squarely for the marketing world. His expertise lies primarily in SEO, which he tries to make it as dynamic and original while not bending the rules for the search engines. He also loves playing around with Content, both for his and his clients’ websites, as well as for Social Media channels and Email Marketing campaigns, for creating magic with content is something he squarely believes in.

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